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I?^3>a.a^ ?.b 




















Nos. I to 50 on Japan Paper 

Nos. 5 1 to 300 on Hand-Made Paper 

Nos. 301 to 1,000 on Special Decide 
Edge Paper 



I AUG 18 1960 ] 

\ ^ J 960 


In republishing the wonderful letters 
of John Keats to Fanny Brawne it is 
^unnecessary to make any apologies. Mr. 
Buxton-Forman who first published 
them for private circulation in i8y8 
has reflected the consensus of moderate 
opinion in his preface to the complete 
letters of Keats put out in iSg^. He 
saySy " There is nothing for anyone to 
be afraid of — nothing that any man or 
woman need blush to have overheard 
through that good hap which preserved 
these records. Above ally the letters are 
irrevocably with us andy being with uSy 
they complete the picture of the true 

The book now published is intended 
to be a fitting shrine for the gems it 
contains. The preface and the notes 
{with one or two exceptions^ are Bux- 
ton-Forman^s. The arrangement of 
letters is the revised arrangement of 
i8g5 with two letters added which were 
not given in the i8y8 edition. 

The illustrations are a portrait of 
KeatSy after the picture by Severn in 
the National Portrait Gallery y and a 
silhouette portrait of Fanny Brawne. 




iMTKODVcnoir . iz 

LxTTBRt TO Fanny Brawns 

Fbtt Period, I to X, Shanklin, Winchater, 

Wettmintter i 

Second Period, XI to XXXIII, Wentworth 

Place 45 

Thixd Period, XXXIV to XXXIX, Kentith 

Town — Pvepwing for ItMlj .... 93 


ING IN TMB National Gallbry . . Frondtfitet 




The three final years of Keats* s life 
are in all respeSts the fullest of vivid 
interest for those whoj admiring the 
poet and loving the memory of the man^ 
would fain form some conception of the 
working of those forces within him 
which went to the shaping of his great- 
est works and his greatest woes. In 
those three years were produced }nost of 
the compositions wherein the lover of 
poetry can discern the supreme hand of 
a mastery the ultimate and sovereign 
perfeSliony beyond which in point of 
quality y the poet could never have gone 
had he lived a hundred yearSy what- 
ever he might have done in magnitude 
and variety; and in those years sprang 
up and grew the one passion of his lifcy 
sweet to him as honey in the intervals 
of brightness and unimpeded vigour 
which he enjoyedy bitter as wormwood 



in those times of sickness and poverty 
and the deepening shadow of death which 
we have learned to associate almost con- 
stantly with our thoughts of him. The 
letters fall naturally into three groups ; 
namely; /, those written during Keats' s 
sojourn with Charles Armitage Brown 
in the Isle of fVighty and his brief stay 
fn lodgings in Westminster in the Sum- 
er and Autumn of i8ig; 2^ those 
written fror/T^Brown^ s house in Went- 
worth rlace during Keats^s illness in the 
early part of 1820^ and sent by hand 
to Mrs. Brawne*s house ^ next door^ and 
J, those written after he was able to 
leave Wentworth Place to stay with 
Leigh Hunt at Kentish Town^ and be- 
fore his departure for Italy in Sep- 
tembery 1820. 

The lady to whom these letters were 
addressed was bom on the gth of Au- 
gust ^ in the year i8oOj and baptized 
^^ Frances yUhoughy as usual with bearers 
of that namcy she was habitually called 



Fanny." Her father^ Mr. Samuel 
Brawnej a gentleman of independent 
means y died while she was still a child; 
and Mrs. Brawne then went to reside 
at Hampsteadj with her three children^ 
Fanny y Samuel j and Margaret. Samuel y 
being next in age to Fanny ^ was a youth 
going to school in iSi^j and Margaret 
was many years younger than her sister, 
being in faS a child at the time of the 
engagement to Keats, which event took 
place between the Autumn ofCi8i8 and 
the Summer of i8i^ The poet's idea 
of Fanny Brawne is best shown in a 
letter to George and Georgiana Keats, 
written probably in December, 1818. 
Keats says : 

^^ Shall I give you Miss Brawne? She 
is about my height — with a fine style of 
countenance of the lengthened sort — she 
wants sentiment in every feature — she 
manages to make her hair look well — 
her nostrils are fine — though a little 
painful — her mouth is bad and good — 











ker Profile is better tksm her fmur-face 
mJticA iaJeed is m^ fkU kmt f^ smd 
skim wiiheml sA^wtMg exj kerne. Her 
si^fe is very grscefml smd sa are her 
wuvewuuis — her Arms are goody her 
kaads iad-ish — her feet teleraile — she 
is wai sevemieem — htt she is tgnaramt — 
wumstreus or her hehamamryfijimg emt 
im all direSiemSy callh^ feeple such 
names — that I was forced lately to wtake 
use of the term Miax — this is I tfumk 
mat from amy hemate vice imt from a 
femchamt she has for aSimg stylishly.** 

That his passion for Fammy was the 
coMse of Keats* s death is an assumption 
which should be looked at with reserve. 

Miss Browne married afterwards and 
lived to a good old age y preserving always 
her self-sufjicingness to a high degree. 







!«fW*4«.'V*>. ■=•■ :•:.•,—•;■>• ■■ •■■ 


her Profile is better than her full-face 
which indeed is not full but pale and 
ihin without showing any bone. Her 
shape is very graceful and so are her 
movements — her Arms are goody her 
hands bad-ish — her feet tolerable — she 
is not seventeen — but she is ignorant — 
monstrous in her behaviour ^ flying out 
in all direSlionSy calling people such 
names — that I was forced lately to make 
use of the term Minx — this is I think 
not from any innate vice but from a 
penchant she has for ailing stylishly*' 

That his passion for Fanny was the 
cause of Keats* s death is an assumption 
which should be looked at with reserve. 

Miss Brawne married afterwards and 
lived to a good old age^preserving always 
her self'Sufficingness to a high degree. 










ShtnkHn, Isle of Wight, 

Thursday {July i, 1819]. 

[Postmark, Newport, July 3, 1819.] 

My dearest Lady, 

I am glad I had not an op- 
portunity of sending off a letter which 
I wrote for you on Tuesday night — 
'twas too much like one out of Rous- 
seau's Heloise. I am more reason- 
able this morning. The morning is 
the only proper time for me to write 
to a beautiful Girl whom I love so 
much: for at night, when the lonely 
day has closed, and the lonely, silent, 
unmusical Chamber is waiting to re- 
ceive me as into a Sepulchre, then be- 
lieve me my passion gets entirely the 
sway, then I would not have you see 



those Rhapsodies which I once thought 
it impossible I should ever give way 
to, and which I have often laughed 
at in another, for fear you should 
[think me] either too unhappy or 
perhaps a little mad. I am now 
at a very pleasant Cottage window, 
looking onto a beautiful hilly coun- 
try, with a glimpse of the sea; the 
morning is very fine. I do not know 
how clastic my spirit might be, what 
pleasure I might have in living here 
and breathing and wandering as free 
as a stag about this beautiful Coast if 
the remembrance of you did not so 
weigh upon me. I have never known 
any unalloy'd Happiness for many 
days together: the death or sickness 
of some one has always spoilt my 
hours — and now when none such 
troubles oppress me, it is you must 
confess very hard that another sort of 
pain should haunt me. Ask your- 
self my love whether you are not very 



cruel to have so entrammelled me, so 
destroyed my freedom. Will you 
confess this in the Letter you must 
write immediately, and do all you can 
to console me in it — ^make it rich as 
a draught of poppies to intoxicate me 
— ^write the softest words and kiss 
them that I may at least touch my 
lips where yours have been. For my- 
self I know not how to express my 
devotion to so &ir a form; I want a 
brighter word than bright, a &irer 
word than &ir. I almost wish we 
were butterflies and liv'd but three 
summer days-^three such days with 
you I could fill with more delight than 
fifty common years could ever con- 
tain. But however selfish I may feel, 
I am sure I could never ad selfishly : 
as I told you a day or two before I 
left Hampstead, I will never return 
to London if my Fate does not turn 
up Pam' or at least a Court-card. 

1 The Knave of Clubs, the high card in Loo. 


Though I could centre my Happiness 
in you, I cannot exped; to engross 
your heart so entirely — ^indeed if I 
thought you felt as much for me as I 
do for you at this moment I do not 
think I could restrain myself from 
seeing you again to-morrow for the 
delight of one embrace. But no— I 
must live upon hope and Chance. In 
Y^ase of the worst that can happen, I 
shall still love you — but what hatred 
shall I have for another! Some lines 
I read the other day are continually 
ringing a peal in my ears: 

To see those eyes I prize above mine own 
Darts favors on another — 
And those sweet lips ()rielding immortal nef^ar) 
Be gently press' d by any but myself- — 
Thinks think Francesca» what a cursed thing 
It were beyond expression ! 


Do write immediately. There is no 
Post from this Place, so you must 
address Post Office, Newport, Isle of 



Wight. I know before night I shall 
curse myself for having sent you so 
cold a Letter; yet it is better to do it 
as much in my senses as possible. Be 
as kind as the distance will permit to 

J. Keats. 

Present my Compliments to your 
mother, my love to Margaret' and 
best remembrances to your Brother 
— ^if you please so. 

I Faiuiy*t youngest lister. 


July 8th. 
[^Postmark, Newport, lojuly, 1819.] 

My sweet Girl, 

Your Letter gave me more 
delight than any thing in the world 
but yourself could do; indeed I am 
almost astonished that any absent 
one should have that luxurious power 
over my senses which I feel. Even 
when I am not thinking of you I re- 
ceive your influence and a tenderer 
nature stealing upon me. All my 
thoughts, my unhappiest days and 
nights, have I find not at all cured me 
of my love of Beauty, but made it so 
intense that I am miserable that you 
are not with me: or rather breathe in 
that dull sort of patience that cannot 
be called Life. I never knew before, 



what such a love as you have made 
me feel, was; I did not believe in it; 
my Fancy was afraid of it, lest it should 
bum me up. But if you will fiilly 
love me, though there may be some 
fire, 'twill not be more than we can 
bear when moistened and bedewed 
with Pleasures. You mention "hor- 
rid people" and ask me whether it 
depend upon them whether I see you 
again. Do understand me, my love, 
in this. I have so much of you in 
my heart that I must turn Mentor 
when I see a chance of harm befalling 
you. I would never see any thing 
but Pleasure in your eyes, love on 
your lips, and Happiness in your 
steps. I would wish to see you 
among those amusements suitable to 
your inclinations and spirits ; so that 
our loves might be a delight in the 
midst of Pleasures agreeable enough, 
rather than a resource from vexations 
and cares. But I doubt much, in case 


of the worst, whether I shall be phil- 
osopher enough to follow my own 
Lessons: if I saw my resolution give 
you a pain I could not. Why may I 
not speak of your Beauty, since with- 
out that I could never have lov'd you? 
— I cannot conceive any beginning 
of such love as I have for you but 
Beauty. There may be a sort of love 
for which, without the least sneer at 
it, I have the highest resped: and can 
admire it in others: but it has not the 
richness, the bloom, the full form, the 
enchantment of love after my own 
heart. So let me speak of your Beauty, 
though to my own endangering; if 
you could be so cruel to me as to try 
elsewhere its Power. You say you 
are afraid I shall think you do not 
love me — in saying this you make me 
ache the more to be near you. I am 
at the diligent use of my faculties 
here, I do not pass a day without 
sprawling some blank verse or tag- 



ging some rhymes; and here I must 
confess, that (since I am on that sub- 
jed) I love you the more in that I 
believe you have liked me for my own 
sake and for nothing else. I have met 
with women whom I really think 
would like to be married to a Poem 
and to be given away by a Novel. I 
have seen your Comet, and only wish 
it was a sign that poor Rice would 
get well whose illness makes him 
rather a melancholy companion: and 
the more so as to conquer his feelings 
and hide them from me, with a forc'd 
Pun. I kiss'd your writing over in 
the hope you had indulg'd me by 
leaving a trace of honey. What was 
your dream? Tell it me and I will 
tell you the interpretation thereof. 
Ever yours, my love! 

John Keats 

Do not accuse me of delay — we have 
not here an opportunity of sending 
letters every day. Write speedily. 



Shanklin, Thursday Evening 

[15 July, 1819?] 

My love, 

I have been in so irritable a 
state of health these two or three last 
days, that I did not think I should 
be able to write this week. Not that 
I was so ill, but so much so as only 
to be capable of an unhealthy teasing 
letter. To night I am greatly recov- 
ered only to feel the languor I have 
felt after you touched with ardency. 
You say you perhaps might have made 
me better: you would then have made 
me worse: now you could quite efFeft 
a cure : What fee my sweet Physician 
would I not give you to do so. Do 
not call it folly, when I tell you I 
took your letter last night to bed with 



me. In the morning I found your 
name on the sealing wax obliterated. 
I was startled at the bad omen till I 
recolled:ed that it must have happened 
in my dreams, and they you know 
fall out by contraries. You must 
have found out by this time I am a 
little given to bode ill like the raven; 
it is my misfortune not my fault; it 
has proceeded from the general tenor 
of the circumstances of my life, and 
rendered every event suspicious. 
However I will no more trouble either 
you or myself with sad Prophecies ; 
though so far I am pleased at it as it 
has given me opportunity to love 
your disinterestedness towards me. I 
can be a raven no more; you and 
pleasure take possession of me at the 
same moment. I am afraid you have 
been unwell. If through me illness 
have touched you (but it must be with 
a very gentle hand) I must be selfish 
enough to feel a little glad at it. 



Will you forgive me this? I have been 
reading lately an oriental tale of a 
very beautiful color — It is of a city of 
melancholy men, all made so by this 
circumstance. Through a series of 
adventures each one of them by turns 
reach some gardens of Paradise where 
they meet with a most enchanting 
Lady; and just as they are going to 
embrace her, she bids them shut their 
eyes — ^they shut them — ^and on open- 
ing their eyes again find themselves 
descending to the earth in a magic 
basket. The remembrance of this 
Lady and their delights lost beyond 
all recovery render them melancholy 
ever after. How I applied this to you, 
my dear; how I palpitated at it; how 
the certainty that you were in the same 
world with myself, and though as 
beautiful, not so talismanic as that 
Lady; how I could not bear you 
should be so you must believe because 
I swear it by yourself. I cannot say 


when I shall get a volume ready. I 
have three or four stories half done, 
but as I cannot write for the mere 
sake of the press, I am obliged to let 
them progress or lie still as my fancy 
chooses. By Christmas perhaps they 
may appear, but I am not yet sure 
they ever will. 'Twill be no matter, 
for Poems are as common as news- 
papers and I do not see why it is a 
greater crime in me than in another 
to let the verses of an half-fledged 
brain tumble into the reading-rooms 
and drawing room windows. Rice 
has been better lately than usual: he 
is not suffering from any negled of 
his parents who have for some years 
been able to appreciate him better 
than they did in his first youth, and 
are now devoted to his comfort. To- 
morrow I shall, if my health continues 
to improve during the night, take a 
look farther about the country, and 
spy at the parties about here who 



come hunting after the pidhiresque 
like beagles. It is astonishing how 
they raven down scenery like children 
do sweetmeats. The wondrous Chine 
here is a very great Lion: I wish I 
had as many guineas as there have 
been spy-glasses in it. I have been, 
I cannot tell why, in capital spirits 
this last hour. What reason? When 
I have to take my candle and retire 
to a lonely room, without the thought 
as I fell asleep, of seeing you to-mor- 
row morning? or the next day, or the 
next — ^it takes on the appearance of 
impossibility and eternity — I will say 
a month — I will say I will see you in 
a month at most, though no one but 
yourself should see me; if it be but 
for an hour. I should not like to be 
so near you as Lx)ndon without being 
continually with you: after having 
once more kissed you Sweet I would 
rather be here alone at my task than 
in the bustle and hateful literary 



chitchat. Meantime you must write 
to me — as I will every week — for 
your letters keep me alive. My sweet 
Girl I cannot speak my love for you. 
Good night! and 

Ever yours 

John Keats 



Sunday Night [25 July, 18 19]. 

[^Postmark, 27 July, 18 19.] 

My sweet Girl, 

I hope you did not blame 
me much for not obeying your re- 
quest of a Letter on Saturday: we 
have had four in our small room play- 
ing at cards night and morning leav- 
ing me no undisturb'd opportunity to 
write. Now Rice and Martin are 
gone I am at liberty. Brown to my 
sorrow confirms the account you give 
of your ill health. You cannot con- 
ceive how I ache to be with you: how 

I would die for one hour for what 

is in the world? I say you cannot 
conceive; it is impossible you should 
look with such eyes upon me as I 



have upon you : it cannot be. Forgive 
me if I wander a little this evening, 
for I have been all day employed in a 
very abstrad Poem and I am in deep 
love with you — ^two things which must 
excuse me. I have, believe me, not 
been an age in letting you take pos- 
session of me; the very first week I 
knew you I wrote myself your vassal; 
but burnt the Letter as the very 
next time I saw you I thought you 
manifested some dislike to me. If you 
should ever feel for Man at the first 
sight what I did for you, I am lost. 
Yet I should not quarrel with you, 
but hate myself if such a thing were 
to happen^-only I should burst if 
the thing were not as fine as a Man 
as you are as a Woman. Perhaps I am 
too vehement, then fancy me on my 
knees, especially when I mention a 
part of your Letter which hurt me; 
you say speaking of Mr. Severn "but 
you must be satisfied in knowing that 



I admired you much more than your 
friend." My dear love, I cannot 
believe there ever was or ever could 
be any thing to admire in me especi- 
ally as far as sight goes — I cannot be 
admired, I am not a thing to be ad- 
mired. You are, I love you ; all I 
can bring you is a swooning admira- 
tion of your Beauty. I hold that 
place among Men which snub-nos'd 
brunettes with meeting eyebrows do 
among women — they are trash to me 
— ^unless I should find one among them 
with a fire in her heart like the one 
that burns in mine. You absorb me 
in spite of myself — you alone: for I 
look not forward with any pleasure to 
what is call'd being settled in the 
world; I tremble at domestic cares — 
yet for you I would meet them, 
though if it would leave you the hap- 
pier I would rather die than do so. I 
have two luxuries to brood over in 
my walks, your Loveliness and the 



hour of my death. O that I could 
have possession of them both in the 
same minute. I hate the world: it 
batters too much the wings of my 
self-will, and would I could take a 
sweet poison from your lips to send 
me out of it. From no others would 
I take it. I am indeed astonish'd to 
find myself so careless of all charms 
but yours — remembering as I do the 
time when even a bit of ribband was 
a matter of interest with me. What 
softer words can I find for you after 
this — ^what it is I will not read. Nor 
will I say more here, but in a Post- 
script answer any thing else you may 
have mentioned in your Letter in so 
many words — for I am distrafted with 
a thousand thoughts. I will imagine 
you Venus to-night and pray, pray, 
pray to your star like a Heathen. 

Your's ever, fair Star, 

John Keats 



My seal is mark'd like a family table 
doth with my Mother's initial F for 
Fanny': put between my Father's 
initials. You will soon hear from me 
again. My respeftfol Comp [limen] ts 
to your Mother. Tell Margaret I'll 
send her a reef of best rocks and tell 
Sam* I will give him my light bay 
hunter if he will tie the Bishop hand 
and foot and pack him in a hamper 
and send him down for me to bathe 
him for his health with a Necklace of 
good snubby stones about his Neck.^ 

X I am not aware of any other published record that this 
name belonged to Keats's mother, as well as his uster and 
his betrothed. 

A Fanny Brawne^s brother and young sister. 

3 1 am unable to obtain or suggest any explanation of the 
allusion made in this strange sentence. It is not, however, 
impossible that <<the Bishop** was merely a nickname of 
some one in the Hampstead circle. 






Shanklin^ Thursday Night 

[5 August^ 1 819]. 

^Postmark, Newport, 9 August, 18 19.] 

My dear Girl, 

You say you must not have 
any more such Letters as the last: I'll 
try that you shall not by running 
obstinate the other way. Indeed I 
have not fair play — I am not idle 
enough for proper downright love- 
letters — I leave this minute a scene 
in our Tragedy* and see you (think 
it not blasphemy) through the mist 
of Plots, speeches, counterplots and 

>The tragedy referred to is, of course, Otho the Great, 
which was composed jointly by Keats and his friend Charles 
Armitage Brown. For the first four ads Brown provided 
the charadeis, plot, etc., and Keats found the language; 
but the fifth ad is wholly Keats^s. 



counterspeeches. The Lover is mad- 
der than I am — I am nothing to him 
— he has a figure like the Statue of 
Meleager and double distilled fire in 
his heart. ^XhaafeGod for my dili- 
gence! were it not for lllSlL 1 sliould 
be^miserable/ I encourage it, and 
strive not to think of you — but when 
I have succeeded in doing so all day 
and as far as midnight, you return, as 
soon as this artificial excitement goes 
off, more severely, from the fever I 
am left in. Upon my soul I cannot 
say what you could like me for. I do 
not think myself a fright any more 
than I do Mr. A., Mr. B., and Mr. 
C. — ^yet if I were a woman I should 
not like A. B. C. But enough of this. 
So you intend to hold me to my 
promise of seeing you in a short time. 
I shall keep it with as much sorrow 
as gladness : for I am not one of the 
Paladins of old who liv'd upon water 
grass and smiles for years together. 



What thought would I not give to- 
night for the gratification of my eyes 
alone? This day week we shall move 
to Winchester; for I feel the want 
of a Library. Brown will leave mt 
there to pay a visit to Mr. Snook at 
ledhampton: in his absence I will 
flit to you and back. I will stay very 
little while, for as I am in a train of 
writi ng nqg ^JLJ ear to^ jjisturb it — let 
It have Its course bad or good — in it 
I shall try my own strength and the 
public pulse. At Winchester I shall 
get your Letters more readily; and it 
being a cathedral City I shall have a 
pleasure always a great one to me 
when near a Cathedral, of reading 
them during the service up and down 
the Aisle. 

Friday Morning [6 August, 1 8 1 9] . 
— Just as I had written thus far last 
night. Brown came down in his morn- 
ing coat and nightcap, saying he had 



been refreshed by a good sleep and 
was very hungry. I left him eating 
and went to bed, being too tired to 
enter into any discussions. You 
would delight very greatly in the 
walks about here; the Cliffs, woods, 
hills, sands, rocks &c. about here. 
They are however not so fine but I 
shall give them a hearty good bye to 
exchange them for my Cathedral. — 
Yet again I am not so tired of Scenery 
as to hate Switzerland. We might 
spend a pleasant year at Berne or 
Zurich — if it should please Venus to 
hear my " Beseech thee to hear us O 
Goddess." And if she should hear, 
God forbid we should what people 
call, settle — turn into a pond, a stag- 
nant Lethe — a vile crescent, row or 
buildings. Better be imprudent 
moveables than prudent fixtures. 
Open my Mouth at the Street door 
like the Lion's head at Venice to re- 
ceive hateful cards, letters, messages. 



Gro out and wither at tea parties; 
freeze at dinners; bake at dances; 
simmer at routs. No my love, trust 
yourself to me and I will find you 
nobler amusements, fortune favour- 
ing. I fear you will not receive this 
till Sunday or Monday: as the Irish- 
man would write do not in the mean 
while hate me. I long to be off for 
Winchester, for I begin to dislike the 
very door-posts here — ^the names, the 
pebbles. You ask after my health, 
not telling me whether you are better. 
I am quite well. You going out is 
no proof that you are: how is it? 
Late hours will do you great harm. 
What fairing is it? I was alone for a 
couple of days while Brown went 
gadding over the country with his 
ancient knapsack. Now I like his 
society as well as any Man's, yet re- 
gretted his return — ^it broke in upon 
me like a Thunderbolt. I had got 
in a dream among my Books — really 



luxuriating in a solitude and silence 
you alone should have disturbed. 

Your ever afFedionate 

John Keats. 



Winchester, August 17th. 

\^Pojtmari, 16 August, 18 19.] 

My dear Girl — ^what shall I say for 
myself? I have been here four days 
and not yet written you — 'tis true I 
have had many teasing letters of busi- 
ness to dismiss — ^and I have been in 
the Claws, like a serpent in an Eagle's, 
of the last aft of our Tragedy. This 
is no excuse; I know it; I do not pre- 
sume to offer it. I have no right 
either to ask a speedy answer to let 
me know how lenient you are — I 
must remain s qjue day s in a Mist — -I 
«ee you through a iSdist : as 1 daresay* 
you do nie by this LilueP Ryl ^eve ii^ 
the first Letters I wrote you ; Xassure 
you I felt as I wrote — I could not 



' write SO now. The thousand images 
I have had pass through my brain — 
my uneasy spirits — my unguess'd fate 
— all^ spread as a veil between m e and 
you. Remember 1 na\fe naono idle 
leisure to brood over you — 'tis well 
perhaps I have not. I could not have 
endured the throne of jeal ousies that 
used to haunt me. beiore^l had plunged 
SO deeply into imaginary interests. I 
would fain, as my sails are set, sail on 
without an interruption for a Brace of 
Months longer — I am in complete 
cue — ^in the fever; and shall in these 
four Months do an immense deal. 
This Page as my eye skims over it I 
see is excessively unloverlike and un- 
gallant — I cannot help it — I am no 
officer in yawning quarters; no Par- 
son-Romeo. My Mind is heap'd to 
the full; stuflPd like a cricket bail — if 
I strive to fill it more it would burst. 
I know the generality of women would 
hate me for this; that I should have 



SO unsoften'd, so hard a Mind as to 
forget them ; forget the brightest reali- 
ties for the dull ims^nafions of my 
own urain^. uut 1 conjure you to 

give itXtkirnthinking; and ask your- 
self whether 'tis not better to explain 
my feelings to you, than write artificial 
Passion. — Besides, you would see 
through it. It would be vain to strive 
to deceive you. 'Tis harsh, harsh, I 
know it. My heart seems now made 
of iron — I could not write a proper 
answer to an invitation to Idalia. You 
are my Judge: my forehead is on the 
ground. You seem offended at a little 
simple innocent childish playfulness 
in my last. I did not seriously mean 
to say that you were endeavouring to 
make me keep my promise. I beg 
your pardon for it. 'Tis hut jusf your 
Pride should take the alarm — seriously. 
You say I may do as I please — I do 
not think with any conscience I can; 
my cash resources are for the present 



stopp'd; I fear for some time. I spend 
no money, but it increases my debts. 
I have all my life thought very little 
of these matters — they seem not to 
belong to me. It may be a proud 
sentence; but by Heaven I am as en- 
tirely above all matters of interest as 
the Sun is above the Earth — and 
though of my own money I should 
be careless; of my Friends' I must be 
spare. You see how I go on — like so 
many strokes of a hammer. I cannot 
help it— I am impeli'd, <lriven to it. 
1 am not Jbappy eriougli" fo« silken 
Phrases, and silver sehteiicۤr^ I can 
"no more use soothing words to you 
than if I were at this moment engaged 
in a charge of Cavalry. Then you w5'l 
say I should not write at all. — Should 
I not? This Winchester is a fine place: 
a beautiful Cathedral and many other 
ancientbuildingsin the Environs. The 
little coffin of a room at Shanklin is 
changed for a large room, where I can 



promenade at my pleasure — ^looks out 
onto a beautiful — blank side of a house. 
It is strange I should like it better than 
the view of the sea from our window 
at Shanklin. I began to hate the 
very posts there — the voice of the old 
Lady over the way was getting a great 
Plague. The Fisherman's face never 
altered any more than our black teapot 
— the knob however was knock'dofFto 
my little relief. I am getting a great 
dislike of the piAuresque; and can 
only relish it over again by seeing 
you enjoy it. One of the pleasantest 
things I have seen lately was at Cowes. 
The Regent in his Yatch' (I think 
they spell it) was anchored opposite 
— a beautiful vessel — and all the 
Yatchs and boats on the coast were 
passing and repassing it; and circuit- 
ing and tacking about it in every di- 

xThk word is of coune left as found in the original letter t 
an editor who would spell it Yacht would be guilty of mil* 
representing Keats as thinking what he did not think. 



reaion_I never beheld 'any thing so 
silent, light, and graceful. — ^As we 
pass'd over to Southampton, there 
was nearly an accident. There came 
by a Boat, well mann'd, with two 
naval officers at the stern. Our Bow- 
lines took the top of their little mast 
and snapped it off close by the board. 
Had the mast been a little stouter 
they would have been upset. In so 
trifling an event I could not help ad- 
miring our seamen — neither officer 
nor man in the whole Boat mov'd a 
muscle — they scarcely notic'd it even 
with words. Forgive me for this 
flint-worded Letter, and believe and 
see that I cannot think of you with- 
out some sort of energy— though mal 
a propos. Even as I leave off it 
seems to me that a few more moments' 
thought of you wouldungg2atalli^ 
and dissolve m«f — T"must not give 
way to It — but turn to my writing 
again — if I fail I shall die hard. O 



my love, your lips are growing sweet 
again to my fancy — I must forget 

Ever your afFedtionate 




Fleet Street, Monday Mom 

[13 September, 1819]. 

[^Postmark, Lombard Street, 

1 4 September, 1 8 1 9 .] 

My dear Girl, 

I have been hurried to town 
by a Letter from my brother George; 
it is not of the brightest intelligence. 
Am I mad or not? I came by the 
Friday night coach and have not yet 
been to Hampstead. Upon my soul 
it is not my fault. I cannot resolve 
to mix any pleasure with my days: 
they go one like another, undis- 
tinguishable. If I were to see you 
to-day it would destroy the half com- 
fortable suUenness I enjoy at present 
into downright perplexities. I love 
you too much to venture to Hamp- 



Stead, I feel it is not paying a visit, 

IS the French noveTwl 
and I in earnest: really what can I 
do? Knowing well that my life must 
be passed in fatigue and trouble, I 
have been endeavouring to wean my- 
self from you: for to myself alone 
what can be much of a misery? As 
far as they regard myself I can despise 
all events: but I cannot cease to love 
you. This morning I scarcely know 
what I am doing. I am going to 
Walthamstow. I shall return to 
Winchester to-morrow; whence you 
shall hear from me in a few days. I 
am a Coward, I cannot bear the pain 
of being happy: 'tis out of the ques- 
tion: I must admit no thought of it. 

Yours ever afFeftionately 

John Keats 



College Street. 
[^Pojtmari, 1 1 Odbober, 1819.] 

My sweet Girl, 

I am living today in yester- 
day: I was in a complete Sanation 
all day. I feel myself at your mercy. 
Write me ever so few lines and tell 
me you will never for ever be less 
kind to me than yesterday. — ^You 
dazzled me. There is nothing in the 
world so bright and delicate. When 
Brown came out with that seemingly 
true story against me last night, I felt 
it would be death to me if you ever 
had believed it — though against any 
one else I could muster up my ob- 
stinacy. Before I knew Brown could 
disprove it I was for the moment 
more miserable. When shall we pass 



a day alone? I have had a thousand 
kisses, for which with my whole soul 
I thank love — but if you should deny 
me the thousand and first — 'twould 
put me to the proof how great a 
misery I could live through. If you 
should ever carry your threat yester- 
day into execution — believe me *tis 
not my pride, my vanity or any petty 
passion would torment me — really 
'twould hurt my heart — I could not 
bear it. I have seen Mrs. Dilke this 
morning; she says she will come with 
me any fine day. 

Ever yours 

John Keats. 
Ah herte mine! 



25 College Street. 
[^Postmark, 13 Oftobcr, 18 19.] 

My dearest Girl, 

This moment I have set my- 
self to copy some verses out fair. I 
cannot proceed with any degree of 
content. I must write you a line or 
two and see if that will assist in dis- 
missing you from my Mind for ever 
so short a time. Upon my Soul I 
can think of nothing else. The time 
is passed when I had power to advise 
and warn you against the unpromis- 
ing morning of my Life. My love 
has made me selfish. I cannot exist 
without you. I am forgetful of 
everything but seeing you again — my 
Life seems to stop there — I see no 
further. You have absorb'd me. I 



have a sensation at the present moment 
as though I was dissolving — I should 
be exquisitely miserable without the 
hope of soon seeing you. I should 
be afraid to separate myself far from 
you. My sweet Fanny, will your 
heart never change? My love, will it? 

I have no limit now to my love 

Your note came in just here. I can- 
not be happier away from you. 'Tis 
richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do 
not threat me even in jest. I have 
been astonished that Men could die 
Martyrs forreligion — I haveshudder'd 
at it. I shudder no more — I could 
be martyr'd for my Religion — Love^ 
js my relig ion — I could die ibrTliaCr 
I could die for you. My Creed is 
"Cove and youare its only tenet. You 
have ravish'd me away by a Power I 
cannot resist; and yet I could resist 
till I sa w vou ; an J e^ner Hhce I have 
seen you I have endeavoured often 
to reason against the reasons of my 




Love/' I can do that no more— the 
pain would be too greaL My love is 

selfish. M rannnt t^ff^atl]^ ^thffVt 

Yours for ever 

John Keats. 



Great Smith Street, 

Tuesday Mom. 

[^Postmark, College Street, 

19 Odbober, 18 19.] 

My sweet Fanny, 

On awakening from my three 
days dream (" I cry to dream again ") 
I find one and another astonish'd at 
my idleness and thoughtlessness. I 
was miserable last night — the morn- 
ing is always restorative. I must be 
busy, or try to be so. I have several 
things to speak to you of tomorrow 
morning. Mrs. Dilke I should think 
will tell you that I purpose living at 
Hampstead. I must impose chains 
upon myself. I shall be able to do 
nothing. I should lik e to cast the 
die for Love or death. I have Uo 


Patience with any thing else — ^if you 
ever intend to be crael to me as you 
say in jest now but perhaps may some- 
times be in earnest, be so now — and 
I will — my mind is in a tremble, I 
cannot tell what I am writing. 

Ever my love yours 

John Keats. 





[Wcntworth Place 

4 February, 1820?] 

Dearest Fanny, I shall send this 
the moment you return. They say 
I must remain confined to this room 
for some time. The consciousness 
that you love me will make a pleasant 
prison of the house next to yours. 
You must come and see me fre- 
quently: this evening, without fail — 
when you must not mind about my 
speaking in a low tone for I am or- 
dered to do so though I can speak 


Yours ever 

sweetest love. — 

turn over J. Keats. 

Perhaps your Mother is not at home 
and so you must wait till she comes. 



You must see me to-night and let me 
hear you promise to come to-morrow. 
Brown told me you were all out. I 
have been looking for the stage the 
whole afternoon. Had I known this 
I could not have remain'd so silent 
all day. 



[Wentworth Place 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

If illnessmakessuch an agree- 
able variety in the manner of your eyes 
I should wish you sometimes to be ill. 
I wish I had read your note before 
you went last night that I might have 
assured you how far I was from sus- 
pecting any coldness. You had a just 
right to be a little silent to one who 
speaks so plainly to you. You must 
believe — ^you shall, you will — that I 
can do nothing, say nothing, think 
nothing of you but what has its spring 
in the Love which has so long been 
my pleasure and torment. On the 
night I was taken ill — ^when so vio- 
lent a rush of blood came to my 
Lungs that I felt nearly suffocated — 



I assure you I felt it possible I might 
not survive, and at that moment 
thought of nothing but you. When 
I said to Brown " this is unfortunate" 
I thought of you. 'Tis true that 
since the first two or three days other 
subjects have entered my head. I 
shall be looking forward to Health 
and the Spring and a regular routine 
of our old Walks. 

Your afFedionate 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place 

February, 1820?] 

My sweet love, I shall wait patiently 
till to-morrow before I see you, and 
in the mean time, if there is any need 
of such a thing, assure you by your 
Beauty, that whenever I have at any 
time written on a certain unpleasant 
subjeft, it has been with your welfare 
impressed upon my mind. How 
hurt 1 should have been had you 
ever acceded to what is, notwithstand- 
ing, very reasonable! How much the 
more do I love you from the general 
result! In my present state of Health 
I feel too much separated from you 
and could almost speak to you in the 
words of Lorenzo's Ghost to Isabella 

Your Beauty grows upon me and I feel 
A greater love through all my essence steal. 



My greatest torment since 1 have 
known you has been the fear of 
you being a little inclined to the 
Cressid; but that suspicion I dismiss 
utterly and remain happy in the surety 
of your Love, which I assure you is 
as much a wonder to me as a delight. 
Send me the words " Good night" to 
put under my pillow. 

Dearest Fanny, 

Your affectionate 




[Wcntworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

Accordingto all appearances I 
am to be separated from you as much 
as possible. How I shall be able to 
bear it, or whether it will not be worse 
than your presence now and then, I 
cannot tell. I must be patient, and 
in the mean time you must think of 
it as little as possible. Let me not 
longer detain you from going to Town 
— there may be no end to this im- 
prisoning of you. Perhaps you had 
better not come before to-morrow 
evening: send me however without 
fail a good night. 

You know our situation — what 
hope is there if I should be recovered 



ever so soon — my very health will not 
suffer me to make any great exertion. 
I am recommended not even to read 
poetry, much less write it. I wish I 
had even a little hope. I cannot say 
forget me — but I would mention that 
there are impossibilities in the world. 
No more of this. I am not strong 
enough to be weaned — take no notice 
of it in your good night. 

Happen what may I shall ever be 
my dearest Love 

Your affedionate 

J. K. 



[Wcntworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, how could it ever 
have been my wish to forget you? 
how could I have said such a thing? 
The utmost stretch my mind has 
been capable of was to endeavour to 
forget you for your own sake seeing 
what a chance there was of my remain- 
ing in a precarious state of health. I 
would have borne it as I would bear 
death if fate was in that humour: but 
I should as soon think of choosing to 
die as to part from you. Believe too 
my Love that our friends think and 
speak for the best, and if their best 
is not our best it is not their fault. 
When I am better I will speak with 
you at large on these subjeds, if there 
is any occasion — I think there is 



none. I am rather nervous to-day 
perhaps from being a little recovered 
and suffering my mind to take little 
excursions beyond the doors and win- 
dows. I take it for a good sign, but 
as it must not be encouraged you had 
better delay seeing me till to-morrow. 
Do not take the trouble of writing 
much: merely send me my good 

Remember me to your Mother and 


Your affedJonate 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

Then all we have to do is to 
be patient. Whatever violence I may 
sometimes do myself by hinting at 
what would appear to any one but 
ourselves a matter of necessity, I do 
not think I could bear any approach 
of a thought of losing you. I slept 
well last night, but cannot say that I 
improve very fast. I shall expeA 
you to-morrow, for it is certainly bet- 
ter that I should see you seldom. Let 
me have your good night. 

Your afFedJonate 

J. K. 



[Wcntworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

I read your note in bed last 
night, and that might be the reason of 
my sleeping so much better. I think 
Mr. Brown' is right in supposing you 
may stop too long with me, so very 
nervous as I am. Send me every 
evening a written Good night. If 
you come for a few minutes about six 
it may be the best time. Should you 
ever fancy me too low-spirited I must 
warn you to ascribe it to the medicine 
I am at present taking which is of a 
nerve-shaking nature. I shall impute 
any depression I may experience to this 
cause. I have been writing with a 
vile old pen the whole week, which is 

'This coupling of Brown's name with ideas of Fanny's ab- 
Knee or presence seems to be a curiously hint indicatkm of a 
funful phase of feeling matt fully developed in the se^wL 



excessively ungallatit. The fault is 
in the Quill: I have mended it and 
still it is very much inclin'd to make 
blind es. However these last lines 
are in a much better style of penman- 
ship, thof a little disfigured by the 
smear of black currant jelly; which 
has made a little mark on one of the 
Pages of Brown's Ben Jonson, the 
very best book he has. I have lick'd 
it but it remains very purple. I did 
not know whether to say purple or 
blue so in the mixture of the thought 
wrote purplue which may be an excel- 
lent name for a colour made up of 
those two, and would suit well to 
start next spring. Be very careful of 
open doors and windows and going 
without your duffle grey. God bless 
you Love! J. Keats. 

P.S. I am sitting in the back 
room. Remember me to your 



[Wcntworth Place, 

February, 1820?^ 

My dear Fanny, 

Do not let your mother sup- 
pose that you hurt me by writing at 
night. For some reason or other 
your last night's note was not so 
treasurable as former ones. I would 
fain that you call me Love still. To 
see you happy and in high spirits is a 
great consolation to me — still let me 
believe that you are not half so happy 
as my restoration would make you. 
I am nervous, I own, and may think 
myself worse than I really am; if so 
you must indulge me, and pamper 
with that sort of tenderness you have 
manifested towards me in different 
Lettrrs. My sweet creature when I 
)gok^ back upon the pains and tor- 



merits I have sufFer'd for you from 
the day I left you to go to the isle of 
Wight; the ecstasies in which I have 
pass'd some days and the miseries in 
their turn, I wonder the more at the 
Beauty which has kept up the spell 
so fervently. When I send this round 
I shall be in the front parlour watch- 
ing to see you show yourself for a 
minute in the garden. How illness 
stands as a barrier betwixt me and 

you! Even if I was well 1 must 

make myself as good a Philosopher 
as possible. Now I have had oppor- 
tunities of passing nights anxious and 
awake I have found other thoughts 
intrude upon me. "If I should die," 
said I to myself, " I have left no im- 
mortal work behind me — nothing to 
make my friends proud of my mem- 
ory — but I have lov'd the principle 
of beauty in all things, and if I had 
had time I would have made myself 
remember'd." Thoughts like these 



came very feebly whilst I was in health 
and every pulse beat for you — now 
you divide with this (may / say it?) 
"last infirmity of noble minds" all 
my refledtion. 

God bless you. Love. 

J. Keats. 



[Wentworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

You spoke of having been 
unwell in your last note: have you 
recover'd ? That note has been a great 
delight to me. I am stronger than I 
was: the Dodors say there is very 
little the matter with me, but I can- 
not believe them till the weight and 
tightness of my Chest is mitigated. I 
will not indulge or pain myself by 
complaining of my long separation 
from you. God alone knows whether 
I am destined to taste of happiness 
with you: at all events I myself know 
thus much, that I consider it no mean 
Happiness to have lov'd you thus 
far — if it is to be no further I shall 
not be unthankful — if I am to re- 



cover, the day of my recovery shall 
see me by your side from which noth- 
ing shall separate me. If well you 
are the only medicine that can keep 
me so. Perhaps, aye surely, I am 
writing in too depress'd a state of 
mind — ^ask your Mother to come and 
see me — she will bring you a better 
account than mine. 

Ever your afFedionate 

John Keats. 


[Wentworth Place, 

24 February, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

Indeed I will not deceive you 
with resped: to my Health. This is 
the fad as far as I know. I have 
been confined three weeks and am not 
yet well — this proves that there is 
something wrong about me which my 
constitution will either conquer or 
give way to. Let us hope for the 
best. Do you hear the Thrush 
singing over the field? I think it is a 
sign of mild weather — so much the 
better for me. Like all Sinners now 
I am ill I philosophize, aye out of my 
attachment to every thing. Trees, 
flowers. Thrushes, Spring, Summer, 
Claret, &c. &c. — aye every thing but 
you, — My sister would be glad of my 



company a litde longer. That Thrush 
is a fine fellow. I hope he was for- 
tunate in his choice this year. Do 
not send any more of my Books 
home. I have a great pleasure in the 
thought of you looking on them. 

Ever yours 

my sweet Fanny 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place^ 

25 February, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

I had a better night last night 
than I have had since my attack, and 
this morning I am the same as when 
you saw me. I have been turning 
over two volumes of Letters written 
between Rousseau and two Ladies in 
the perplexed strain of mingled finesse 
and sentiment in which the Ladies 
and gentlemen of those days were so 
clever, and which is still prevalent 
among Ladies of this Country who 
live in a state of reasoning romance. 
The likeness however only extends to 
the mannerism, not to the dexterity. 
What would Rousseau have said at 
seeing our little correspondence! 



What would his Ladies have said ! 
I don't care much — I would sooner 
have Shakespeare's opinion about the 
matter. The common gossiping of 
washerwomen must be less disgusting 
than the continual and eternal fence 
and attack of Rousseau and these 
sublime Petticoats. One calls herself 
Clara and her friend Julia, two of 
Rousseau's heroines — they all the 
same time christen poor Jean Jacques 
St. Preux — who is the pure cavalier 
of his famous novel. Thank God I 
am born in England with our own 
great Men before my eyes. Thank 
God that you are fair and can love 
me without being Letter-written and 
sentimentaliz'd into it. — Mr. Barry 
Cornwall has sent me another Book, 
his first, with a polite note. I must 
do what I can to make him sensible 
of the esteem I have for his kindness. 
If this north east would take a turn it 
would be so much the better for me. 



Good bye, my love, my dear love, 
my beauty — 

love me for ever. 

J. K. 



[Wcntworth Place^ 

February, 1820 ?] 

My dearest Girl, 

I continue much the same as 
usual, I think a little better. My 
spirits are better also, and consequent- 
ly I am more resigned to my confine- 
ment. I dare not think of you much 
or write much to you. Remember 
me to all. 

Ever your affectionate 

John Keats. 



[Wentworth Place, 

February, 1820 ?] 

My dear Fanny, 

I think you had better not 
make any long stay with me when 
Mr, Brown is at home. Whenever he 
goes out you may bring your work. 
You will have a pleasant walk to-day. 
I shall see you pass. I shall follow 
you with my eyes over the Heath. 
Will you come towards evening in- 
stead of before dinner ? When you 
are gone, *tis past — ^if you do not 
come till the evening I have some- 
thing to look forward to all day. 
Come round to my window for a 
moment when you have read this. 
Thank your Mother, for the pre- 
serves, for me. The raspberry will 



be too sweet not having any acid; 
therefore as you are so good a girl I 
shall make you a present of it. Good 

My sweet Love ! 

J. Keats. 



[Wentworth Place, 

February, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

The power of your benedic- 
tion is of not so weak a nature as to 
pass from the ring in four and twenty 
hours — it is like a sacred Chalice 
once consecrated and ever consecrate. 
I shall kiss your name and mine where 
your Lips have been — Lips! why 
should a poor prisoner as I am talk 
about such things? Thank God, 
though I hold them the dearest pleas- 
ures in the universe, I have a conso- 
lation independent of them in the 
certainty of your afFedion. I could 
write a song in the style of Tom 
Moore*s Pathetic about Memory if 
that would be any relief to me. No 



'twould not. I will be as obstinate 
as a Robin^ I will not sing in a cage. 
Health is my expeded heaven and 
you are the Houri — this word I be- 
lieve is both singular and plural — if 
only plural, never mind — you are a 
thousand of them. 

Ever yours affeAionately 

my dearest, 

J. K. 

You had better not come to-day. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, iSsof] 

My dearest Love, 

You must not stop so long 
in the cold — I have been suspeding 
that window to be open. — ^Your note 
half-cured me. When I want some 
more oranges I will tell you — these 
are just a propos. I am kept from 
food so feel rather weak — otherwise 
very well. Pray do not stop so long 
upstairs — it makes me uneasy — come 
every now and then and stop a half 
minute. Remember me to your 

Your ever afFedionate 

J. Keats. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820 ?] 

Sweetest Fanny, 

You fear, sometimes, I do not 
love you so much as you wish ? My 
dear Girl I love you ever and ever 
and without reserve. The more I 
have known you the more have I 
lov'd. In every way — even my jeal- 
ousies have been agonies of Love, in 
the hottest fit I ever had I would have 
died for you. I have vex'd you too 
much. But for Love ! Can I help 
it? You are always new. The last 
of your kisses was ever the sweetest; 
the last smile the brightest ; the last 
movement the gracefullest. When 
you pass'd my window home yester- 
day, I was fiU'd with as much admira- 
lion as if I had then seen you for the 



first time. You uttered a half com- 
plaint once that I only lov'd your 
Beauty. Have I nothing else then 
to love in you but that ? Do not I 
see a heart naturally furnish'd with 
wings imprison itself with me ? No 
ill prospedt has been able to turn your 
thoughts a moment from me. This 
perhaps should be as much a subjedt 
of sorrow as joy — but I will not 
talk of that Even if you did not 
love me I could not help an entire de- 
votion to you : how much more deeply 
then must I feel for you knowing you 
love me. My Mind has been the most 
discontented and restless one that ever 
was put into a body too small for it. 
I never felt my Mind repose upon 
anything with complete and undis- 
traded enjoyment — upon no person 
but you. When you are in the room 
my thoughts never fly out of window: 
you always concentrate my whole 
senses. The anxiety shown about 



our Loves in your last note is an im- 
mense pleasure to me: however you 
must not suffer such speculations to 
molest you any more : nor will I any 
more believe you can have the least 
pique against me. Brown is gone 
out — but here is Mrs.Wylie' — ^when 
she is gone I shall be awake for you. 
— Remembrances to your Mother. 

Your affeftionate 

J. Keats. 

I George Keat8*8 mother-in-law. The significant but indi- 
cates that the absence of Brown was still, as was natural, 
more or less a condition of the presence of Miss Brawne. 
That Keats had, however, or thought he had, some reason 
for this condition, beyond the mere delicacy of lovers, is 
clearly shadowed by the cold « My dear Fanny,** which 
in Letter XXIII the condition was first expressly prescribed, 
and more than shadowed by the agonized expression of a 
morbid sensibility in Letten XXXVII and XXXIX. Prob- 
ably a man in sound health would have found the cause 
trivial enough. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820.] 

My dear Fanny, 

I am much better this morn- 
ing than I was a week ago: indeed I 
improve a little every day. I rely 
upon taking a walk with you upon 
the first of May: in the mean time 
undergoing a Babylonish captivity I 
shall not be jew enough to hang up 
my harp upon a willow, but rather 
endeavour to clear up my arrears in 
versifying, and with returning health 
begin upon something new: pursuant 
to which resolution it will be neces- 
sary to have my or rather Taylor's 
manuscript,' which you, if you please, 

I Pretnmably the manutcript of Lamia, IsaMla, &c. then 
about to be tent to pmt. 



will send by my Messenger either to- 
day or to-morrow. Is Mr. D. with 
you to-day : You appeared very much 
fatigued last night: you must look a 
little brighter this morning. I shall 
not suffer my little girl ever to be 
obscured like glass breath'd upon, 
but always bright as it is her nature 
to. Feeding upon sham vidhials and 
sitting by the fire will completely 
annul me. I have no need of an en- 
chanted wax figure to duplicate me, 
for I am melting in my proper person 
before the fire. If you meet with 
anything better (worse) than com- 
mon in your Magazines let me see it. 

Good bye my sweetest Girl. 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, whe[ne]ver 
you know me to be alone, come, no 
matter what day. Why will you go 
out this weather? I shall not fatigue 
myself with writing too much I 
promise you. Brown says I am get- 
ting stouter. I rest well and from 
last night do not remember any thing 
horrid in my dream, which is a capi 
tal symptom, for any organic derange- 
ment always occasions a Phantasma- 
goria. It will be a nice idle amuse- 
ment to hunt after a motto for my 
Book which I will have if lucky 
enough to hit upon a fit one — not 
intending to write a preface. I fear 
I am too late with my note — ^you are 



gone out — ^you will be as cold as a 
topsail in a north latitude — I advise 
you to furl yourself and come in a 

Good bye Love. 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, I slept well 
last night and am no worse this morn- 
ing for it. Day by day if I am not 
deceived I get a more unrestrain'd 
use of my Chest. The nearer a racer 
gets to the Goal the more his anxiety 
becomes; so I lingering upon the 
borders of health feel my impatience 
increase. Perhaps on your account I 
have imagined my illness more seri- 
ous than it is: how horrid was the 
chance of slipping into the ground 
instead of into your arms — the differ- 
ence is amazing Love. Death must 
come at last; Man must die, as Shal- 
low says; but before that is my fate I 
fain would try what more pleasures 



than you have given, so sweet a crea- 
ture as you can give. Let me have 
another opportunity of years before 
me and I will not die without being 
remember'd. Take care of yourself 
dear that we may both be well in the 
Summer. I do not at all fatigue my- 
self with writing, having merely to 
put a line or two here and there, a 
Task which would worry a stout state 
of the body and mind, but which 
just suits me as I can do no more. 

Your afFeftionate 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

Though I shall see you in 
so short a time I cannot forbear send- 
ing you a few lines. You say I did 
not give you yesterday a minute ac- 
count of my health. To-day I have 
left off the Medicine which I took to 
keep the pulse down and I find I can 
do very well without it, which is a 
very favourable sign, as it shows that 
there is no inflammation remaining. 
You think I may be wearied at night 
you say: it is my best time; I am at 
my best about eight o* Clock. I re- 
ceived a Note from Mr. Profter to- 
day. He says he cannot pay me a 
visit this weather as he is fearful of 



an inflammation in the Chest. What 
a horrid climate this is? or what care- 
less inhabitants it has ? You are one 
of them. My dear girl do not make 
a joke of it: do not expose yourself 
to the cold. There's the Thrush 
again — I can't afford it — he'll run me 
up a pretty Bill for Music — besides 
he ought to know I deal at dementi's. 
How can you bear so long an impris- 
onment at Hampstead? I shall always 
remember it with all the gusto that a 
monopolizing carle should. I could 
build an Altar to you for it. 

Your affectionate 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

As, from the last part of my 
note you must see how gratified I 
have been by your remaining at home, 
you might perhaps conceive that I 
was equally bias'd the other way by 
your going to Town, I cannot be 
easy to-night without telling you you 
would be wrong to suppose so. 
Though I am pleased with the one, 
I am not displeased with the other. 
How do I dare to write in this man- 
ner about my pleasures and displeas- 
ures? I will tho' whilst I am an in- 
valid, in spite of you. Good night. 

J. K. 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

In consequence of our com- 
pany I suppose I shall not see you 
before to-morrow. I am much bet- 
ter to-day — indeed all I have to com- 
plain of is want of strength and a little 
tightness in the Chest. I envied 
Sam's walk with you to-day; which I 
will not do again as I may get very 
tired of envying. I imagine you now 
sitting in your new black dress which 
I like so much and if I were a little 
less selfish and more enthusiastic I 
should run round and surprise you 
with a knock at the door. I fear I 
am too prudent for a dying kind of 
Lover. Yet, there is a great difFer- 




ence between going off in warm blood 
like Romeo, and making one's exit 
like a frog in a frost. I had nothing 
particular to say to-day, but not in- 
tending that there shall be any inter- 
ruption to our correspondence (which 
at some future time I propose offer- 
ing to Murray) I write something. 
God bless you my sweet Love! Ill- 
ness is a long lane, but! jgg,.4a3ft:; at 
tne*15nd o^ it, and^all mend my pace 
as well as possible.^ " 

J. K. 

H» ll< U) > I H 



[Wentworth Place, 

March, 1820?] 

Dear Girl, 

Yesterday you must have 
thought me worse than I really was. 
I assure you there was nothing but 
regret at being obliged to forego an 
embrace which has so many times 
been the highest gust of my Life. I 
would not care for health without it. 
Sam would not come in — I wanted 
merely to ask him how you were this 
morning. When one is not quite 
well we turn for relief to those we 
love: this is no weakness of spirit in 
me: you know when in health I 
thought of nothing but you; when I 
shall again be so it will be the same. 
Brown has been mentioning to me 



that some hint from Sam, last night, 
occasions him some uneasiness. He 
whispered something to you concern- 
ing Brown and old Mr. Dilke which 
had the complexion of being some- 
thing derogatory to the former. It 
was conneded with an anxiety about 
Mr. D. Sr's death and an anxiety to 
set out for Chichester. These sort 
of hints point out their own solution: 
one cannot pretend to a delicate ig- 
norance on the subjeft: you under- 
stand the whole matter. If any one, 
my sweet Love, has misrepresented, 
to you, to your Mother or Sam, any 
circumstances which are at all likely, 
at a tenth remove, to create suspicions 
among people who from their own 
interested notions slander others, pray 
tell me: for I feel the least attaint on 
the disinterested charafter of Brown 
very deeply. Perhaps Reynolds or 
some other of my friends may come 
towards evening, therefore you may 



choose whether you will come to see 
me early to-day before or after din- 
ner as you may think fit. Remember 
me to your Mother and tell her to 
drag you to me if you show the least 
reludance — 

[Signature missing.] 





[Kentish Town, 

May, 1820.] 

My dearest Girl, 

I endeavour to make myself 
as patient as possible. Hunt amuses 
me very kindly — besides I have your 
ring on my finger and your flowers 
on the table. I shall not exped to 
see you yet because it would be so 
much pain to part with you again. 
When the Books you want come you 
shall have them. I am very well this 
afternoon. My dearest . . . 

[Signature cut off.'] 

■ Tbe piece cut off the original letter is in this instance so 
tmall that nothing can be wanting except the ugnature, 
-^>iobabl]r given to an autograph-colle^r. 



Tuesday Afternoon. 
[Kentish Town, May, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

For this Week past I have 
been employed in marking the most 
beautiful passages in Spenser, intend- 
ing it for you, and comforting myself 
in being somehow occupied to give 
you however small a pleasure. It 
has lightened my time very much. I 
am much better. God bless you. 

Your afFedtionate 

J. Keats. 



Tuesday Mom. 
[Kentish Town, May, 1820.] 

My dearest Girl, 

I wrote a letter' for you 
yesterday expecting to have seen your 
Mother. I shall be selfish enough 
to send it though I know it may give 
you a little pain, because I wish you 
to see how unhappy I am for love of 
you, and endeavour as much as I can 
to entice you to give up your whole 
heart to me whose whole existence 
hangs upon you. You could not step 
or move an eyelid but it would shoot 
to my heart — I am greedy of you. 
Do not think of anything but me. 
Do not live as if I was not existing. 
Do not forget me — But have I any 

I Probably not extant. 



right to say you forget me? Perhaps 
you think of me all day. Have I any 
right to wish you to be unhappy for 
me? You would forgive me for wish- 
ing it if you knew the extreme pas- 
sion I have that you should love me 
— and for you to love me as I do 
you, you must think of no one but 
me, much less write that sentence. 
Yesterday and this morning I have 
been haunted with a sweet vision — I 
have seen you the whole time in your 
shepherdess dress. How my senses 
have ached at it! How my heart has 
been devoted to it! How my eyes 
have been jfull of tears at it! Indeed 
I think a real love is enough to occupy 
the widest heart. Your going to town 
alone when I heard of it was a shock 
to me — yet I expected it — fromise me 
you will not for some time till I get 
better. Promise me this and fill the 
paper full of the most endearing 
names. If you cannot do so with 



good will, do my love tell me — say 
what you think— confess if your heart 
is too much fastened on the world. 
Perhaps then I may see you at a 
greater distance, I may not be able to 
appropriate you so closely to myself. 
Were you to lose a favorite bird from 
the cage, how would your eyes ache 
after it as long as it was in sight; 
when out of sight you would recover 
a little. Perhaps if you would, if so 
it is, confess to me how many things 
are necessary to you besides me, I 
might be happier; by being less tan- 
taliz*d. Well may you exclaim, how 
selfish, how cruel not to let me enjoy 
my youth ! to wish me to be unhappy. 
You must be so if you love me. Upon 
my soul I can be contented with noth- 
ing else. If you would really what is 
caird enjoy yourself at a Party — ^if 
you can smile in people's faces, and 
wish them to admire you now — ^you 
never have nor ever will love me. I 



see life in nothing but the certainty 
of your Love— convince me of it my 
sweetest. If I am not somehow con- 
vinced I shall die of agony. If we 
love we must not live as other men 
and women do — I cannot brook the 
wolfsbane of fashion and foppery and 
tattle — ^you must be mine to die upon 
the rack if I want you. I do not 
pretend to say that I have more feel- 
ing than my fellows, but I wish you 
seriously to look over my letters kind 
and unkind and consider whether the 
Person who wrote them can be able 
to endure much longer the agonies 
and uncertainties which you are so 
peculiarly made to create. My re- 
covery of bodily health will be of no 
benefit to me if you are not mine 
when I am well. For God's sake 
save me— or tell me my passion is of 
too awful a nature for you. Again 
God bless you. 

J. K. 



No — my sweet Fanny — I am 
wrong — I do not wish you to be un- 
happy — and yet I do, I must while 
there is so sweet a Beauty — my love- 
liest, my darling! good bye! I kiss 
you — O the torments ! 



Wednesday Morn [in] g. 
[Kentish Town, 5 July, 1820?] 

My dearest Girl, 

I have been a walk this 
morning with a book in my hand, 
but as usual I have been occupied 
with nothing but you: I wish I could 
say in an agreeable manner. I am 
tormented day and night. They talk 
of my going to Italy. *Tis certain I 
shall never recover if I am to be so 
long separate from you: yet with all 
this devotion to you I cannot persuade 
myself into any confidence of you. 
Past experience connected with the 
fad of my long separation from you 
gives me agonies which are scarcely 



to be talked of. When your mother 
comes 1 shall be very sudden and 
expert in asking her whether you 
have been to Mrs. Dilke*s, for she 
might say no to make me easy. I 
am literally worn to death, which 
seems my only recourse. I cannot 
forget what has pass'd. What? noth- 
ing with a man of the world, but to 
me deathjful. I will get rid of this as 
much as possible. When you were 
in the habit of flirting with Brown 
you would have left off, could your 
own heart have felt one half of one 
pang mine did. Brown is a good 
sort of Man — he did not know he 
was doing me to death by inches. I 
feel the efFeft of every one of those 
hours in my side now; and for that 
cause, though he has done me many 
services, though I know his love and 
friendship for me, though at this mo- 
ment I should be without pence were 
it not for his assistance, I will never 



see or speak to him until we are both 
old men, if we are to be. I will re- 
sent my heart having been made a 
football. You will call this madness. 
I have heard you say that it was not 
unpleasant to wait a few years — ^you 
have amusements — your mind is 
away — ^you have not brooded over 
one idea as I have, and how should 
you? You are to me an objed in- 
tensely desirable — the air I breathe 
in a room empty of you is unhealthy. 
I am not the same to you — no— you 
can wait — ^you have a thousand activi- 
ties — you can be happy without me. 
Any party, anything to fill up the day 
has been enough. How have you 
pass'd this month? Who have you 
smil'd with? All this may seem sav- 
age in me. You do not feel as I do 
— you do not know what it is to love 
—one day you may — your time is not 
come. Ask yourself how many un- 
happy hours Keats has caused you in 



Loneliness. For myself I have been 
a Martyr the whole time, and for this 
reason I speak; the confession is 
forc'd from me by the torture. I 
appeal to you by the blood of that 
Christ you believe in : Do not write 
to me if you have done anything this 
month which it would have pained 
me to have seen. You may have al- 
tered — if you have not — if you still 
behave in dancing rooms and other 
societies as I have seen you — I do 
not want to live — if you have done 
so I wish this coming night may be 
my last. I cannot live without you, 
and not only you but chaste you; vir- 
tuous you. The Sun rises and sets, 
the day passes, and you follow the 
bent of your inclination to a certain 
extent — ^you have no conception of 
the quantity of miserable feeling that 
passes through me in a day. — Be 
serious ! Love is not a plaything — ^and 
again do not write unless you can do 



It with a crystal conscience. I would 
sooner die for want of you than 

Yours for ever 

J. Keats. 



[Kentish Town, 

July, 1820?] 

My dearest Fanny, 

My head is puzzled this 
morning, and I scarce know what I 
shall say though I am full of a hun- 
dred things. *Tis certain I would 
rather be writing to you this morning, 
notwithstanding the alloy of grief in 
such an occupation, than enjoy any 
other pleasure, with health to boot^ 
unconnefted with you. Upon my 
soul I have loved you to the extreme. 
I wish you could know the Tender- 
ness with which I continually brood 
over your different aspeds of counte- 
nance, action and dress. I see you 
come down in the morning: I see 
you meet me at the Window — I see 



every thing over again eternally that 
I ever have seen. If I get on the 
pleasant clue I live in a sort of happy 
misery, if on the unpleasant 'tis mis- 
erable misery. You complain of my 
illtreating you in word, thought and 
deed— I am sorry,— at times I feel 
bitterly sorry that I ever made you 
unhappy — my excuse is that those 
words have been wrung from me by 
the sharpness of my feelings. At all 
events and in any case I have been 
wrong; could I believe that I did it 
without any cause, I should be the 
most sincere of Penitents. I could 
give way to my repentant feelings 
now, I could recant all my suspicions, 
I could mingle with you heart and 
Soul though absent, were it not for 
some parts of your Letters. Do you 
suppose it possible I could ever leave 
you? You know what I think of my- 
self and what of you. You know 
that I should feel how much it was 



my loss and how little yours. My 
friends laugh at you! I know some of 
them — ^when I know them all I shall 
never think of them again as friends 
or even acquaintance. My friends 
have behaved well to me in every 
instance but one, and there they have 
become tattlers, and inquisitors into 
my conduct: spying upon a secret I 
would rather die than share it with 
any body's confidence. For this I 
cannot wish them well, I care not to 
see any of them again. If I am the 
Theme, I will not be the Friend of 
idle Gossips. Good gods what a 
shame it is our Loves should be so 
put into the microscope of a Coterie. 
Their laughs should not affed: you (I 
may perhaps give you reasons some 
day for these laughs, for I susped: a 
few people to hate me well enough, 
for reasons I know ofy who have pre^ 
tended a great friendship for me) 
when in competition with one, who 



if he never should see you again 
would make you the Saint of his 
memory. These Laughers, who do 
not like you, who envy you for your 
Beauty, who would have God-bless'd 
me from you for ever: who were ply- 
ing me with disencouragements with 
resped to you eternally. People are 
revengeful — do not mind them — do 
nothing but love me — if I knew that 
for certain life and health will in such 
event be a heaven, and death itself 
will be less painful. I long to believe 
in immortality. I shall never be able 
to bid you an entire farewell. If I 
am destined to be happy with you 
here — how short is the longest Life. 
I wish to believe in immortality — I 
wish to live with you for ever. Do 
not let my name ever pass between 
you and those laughers ; if I have no 
other merit than the great Love for 
you, that were sufficient to keep me 
sacred and unmentioned in such so- 



ciety. If I have been crael and un- 
just I swear my love has ever been 
greater than my cruelty which lasts 
but a minute whereas my Love come 
what will shall last for ever. If con- 
cession to me has hurt your Pride 
god knows I have had little pride in 
my heart when thinking of you. 
Your name never passes my Lips — do 
not let mine pass yours. Those 
People do not like me. After read- 
ing my Letter you even then wish to 
see me. I am strong enough to walk 
over — but I dare not. I shall feel 
so much pain in parting with you 
again. My dearest love^ I am afraid 
to see you; I am strong, but not 
strong enough to see you. Will my 
arm be ever round you again^ and if 
so shall I be obliged to leave you 
again? My sweet Love! I am happy 
whilst I believe your first Letter. 
Let me be but certain that you are 
mine heart and soul, and I could die 



more happily than I could otherwise 
live. If you think me cruel — if you 
think I have sleighted you — do muse 
it over again and see into my heart. 
My love to you is "true as truth's 
simplicity and simpler than the infancy 
of truth" as I think I once said be- 
fore. How could I sleight you? How 
threaten to leave you? not in the 
spirit of a Threat to you — no-^but in 
the spirit of Wretchedness in myself. 
My fairest, my delicious, my angel 
Fanny ! do not believe me such a vul- 
gar fellow. I will be as patient in 
illness and as believing in Love as I 
am able. 

Yours for ever my dearest 

John Keats. 



[Kentish Town, 

August, 1820?] 

I do not write this till the last 
that no eye may catch it.> 

My dearest Girl, 

I wish you could invent 
some means to make me at all happy 
without you. Every hour I am more 
and more concentrated in you ; every 
thing else tastes like chafF in my 
Mouth. I feel it almost impossible 
to go to Italy — the fa6t is I cannot 
leave you, and shall never taste one 
minute's content until it pleases chance 
to let me live with you for good. But 
I will not go on at this rate. A per- 

■ This seems to mean that be wrote the letter to the end,, 
and then filled in the words My dearest Girly left out ktt 
any one coming near him should chance to see them. 



son in health as you are can have no 
conception of the horrors that nerves 
and a temper like mine go through. 
What Island do your friends propose 
retiring to? I should be happy to go 
with you there alone, but in company 
I should objed: to it; the backbitings 
and jealousies of new colonists who 
have nothing else to amuse them- 
selves, is unbearable. Mr. Dilke 
came to see me yesterday, and gave 
me a very great deal more pain than 
pleasure. I shall never be able any 
more to endure the society of any of 
those who used to meet at Elm Cot- 
tage and Wentworth Place. The last 
two years taste like brass upon my 
Palate. If I cannot live with you I 
will live alone. I do not think my 
health will improve much while I am 
separated from you. For all this I 
am averse to seeing you — I cannot 
bear flashes of light and return into 
my glooms again. I am not so un- 



happy now as I should be if I had 
seen you yesterday. To be happy 
with you seems such an impossibility ! 
it requires a luckier Star than mine! 
it will never be. I enclose a passage 
from one of your letters which I want 
you to alter a little — I want (if you 
will have it so) the matter expressed 
less coldly to me. If my health would 
bear it, I could write a Poem which 
I have in my head, which would be a 
consolation for people in such a situa- 
tion as mine. I would show some 
one in Love as I am, with a person 
living in such Liberty as you do. 
Shakespeare always sums up matters 
in the most sovereign manner. Ham- 
let's heart was fall of such Misery as 
mine is when he said to Ophelia "Go 
to a Nunnery, go, go!" Indeed I 
should like to give up the matter at 
once — I should like to die. I am 
sickened at the brute world which you 
are smiling with. I hate men, and 



women more. I see nothing but 
thorns for the future — ^wherever I may 
be next winter, in Italy or nowhere, 
Brown will be living near you with 
his indecencies. I see no prospeA 
of any rest. Suppose me in Rome 
— ^well, I should there see you as in 
a magic glass going to and from town 

at all hours, 1 wish you could 

infuse a little confidence of human 
nature into my heart. I cannot mus- 
ter any — ^the world is too brutal for 
me — I am glad there is such a thing 
as the grave — I am sure I shall never 
have any rest till I get there. At any 
rate I will indulge myself by never 
seeing any more Dilke or Brown or 
any of their Friends. I wish I was 
either in your arms full of faith or 
that a Thunder bolt would strike me. 

God bless you. 

J. K. 


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